I feel pretty unsure where to start? I must admit I am struggling to process everything that happened during my challenge. Within the space of one week there was so much emotion, pain and exhaustion mixed in with support, love and kindness. Was it even real?? Did I really just do that? Are frequent questions that I often ask myself! Even now it seems so impossible I’m wondering if it’s possible? Did I really do it or was it one big dream….or nightmare?
When I came up with this challenge, when I was planning everything and when I was in my final stages of preparation I think I was completely oblivious to what I was about to endure both physically and mentally. The amount of times I have quoted “I completely underestimated exactly how hard that challenge was going to be” since finishing the challenge is endless…. but so true! As I’m sure you can see I love testing limits, I love pushing myself and my body to its maximum but this was off the scale, this was beyond anything I have ever and could ever imagine.
I remember the feeling of innocence and excitement on day one mixed in with nerves of course but nerves of the good kind! Looking back at the photos all I see is the clueless expression on my face of what I was about to tackle! Little did I know that within the next 24 hours my mind and body was about the go into melt down. I remember the feeling of pressure during my Lorraine interview just after starting, I had set my stall and told the nation what I was embarking on-there was absolutely no turning back now but that was ok, at that moment in time I believed in myself, I was revved up and ready to go. I feel like I am the most stubborn person going, once I set my mind to something I make sure I see it through no matter what it takes, but this time I was tested beyond belief! Exhaustion picked a fight with my mental strength and tested it to its absolute limits!
Day 2 will stay with me forever, I had been running for around 18 hours a day for 2 days and the blisters had already started but I think more than anything my mind had lost faith in my body and it was the first time I realised just how hard this challenge was going to be, I realised I was going to have to fight like I had never fought before and I was going to have to pull something pretty special out of the bag. As I always say, I want to share my journey with my followers through both the good and the bad, from posting my video of my me having a not so mini break down with you guys I was picked up, you guys gave me that push and the drive and determination was dug back out.
It’s such a weird feeling I have now…the rest of the week seemed both a blur but at the same time there are certain points that are still crystal clear and at this moment in time they feel like they will be engrained in my brain forever! Those moments were the times I read certain messages that picked me up when I was down, when people travelled hundreds of miles to come and show their support, when people bought me the most thoughtful gifts to try and crack a smile on my face, when people saw me cry on live stream so came all the way over to check on me or sent a message of support and when people didn’t say a word but gave me the most sympathetic look of support and comfort and believe me those looks meant more than you will ever know! There were also the times when I was in that much pain I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly, the times when my mind battled with my body and nearly quit, the times I so desperately wanted to stop, get carried home and crawl into bed, the times I felt like I was asleep but I actually wasn’t, well at one point I was and that resulted in a fall of the treadmill and a bloody knee…on the other hand it made me feel more awake than I had done all week!
I plodded through the week in a haze, as I crept towards the end of the week I was slowly starting to realise I was falling behind, those 5 minute stretch stops were slowly adding up. I would enjoy going to the toilet, as it was the only time I could have time with myself, with nobody watching, nobody talking to me and no one telling me what I needed to do! I would often wonder if I could sit on the toilet for half an hour or so…would any one notice? Then I would have to snap out of it and face the music! These moments were adding up and I was loosing distance. A few serious conversations were had between Dave, my Physio-Kristian and myself! I was told that if I didn’t up my game that the record would soon no longer be in reach, Dave was doing the sums but I already knew in my head I was suffering and mentally I was fading. I nearly pulled the plug, at one point I stepped off the treadmill and told Dave I was going home, but something changed, it was like a switched that flicked. I got back on, put my head down and ploughed through….was this going to beat me? Absolutely not! Where this drive came from I’ll never know but I started cracking up the speed for a few solid hours and somehow smashed out a chunk 9k hours! Something happened that night and what it was I don’t know but I managed to bring it back. The night before I finished I remember begging Dave to let me stop…I kept telling him I could make up time in the morning but in true Marine style I was told NO…. I hated him for all of an hour and then that morning I was due to finish knowing I had 12k to do in 3 hours-I knew I had it, i knew the end was in sight and at that moment I loved him like you’ll never know!
With the finish line in sight it started to feel so surreal, I had been so desperate to see that day when it finally came I thought it couldn’t be it. When that finish line came, I fell on the floor, collapsed in a heap and sobbed my heart out. I can’t even explain the feeling of relief, its like nothing I have EVER felt before. Even now I think I am still in shock. But it was real and for a split second I felt like the happiest person on earth!
The main question people have been asking is how did I do it?
How I did it I don’t know? Running for 18-20 hours a day with 13 blisters, feeling permanently exhausted, not being able to eat properly from feeling sick, having a blistered tongue so food was having to be forced down and having to constantly try my hardest to put on a brave face to talk to people passing and runners who had gone out of their way to join me which was sometimes a blessing and sometimes not-as some of you that joined me during my low times know! Sometimes I just physically could not speak, as much as I wanted to my body just wouldn’t allow it and slowly that brave face turned to face of sadness and pain. So how did I do it? I’m a firm believer in “running on mental strength” I don’t think my body got that record I think it was my mind, my grit and my determination fuelled by support from you guys near and far! When my body said no my mind said yes, when my body said quit my mind said no and when my body said I can’t do this my mind said I could.
There are 3 sentences I repeated to myself when I was really struggling and they were;
“you are strong, you are fearless, don’t stop” if these words can at some point bring you as much comfort they bought me during one of your run I’ll be happy!
There are so many stories within my challenge to be shared…but I feel those are to be saved for another day, but as always I feel like my story has been your story! So many people have been saying how they were addicted to live stream and how they cried when I cried and were so happy (maybe not as happy as me) when it came to an end, and that’s because my story is always your story, never could I achieved what I achieved without your support either online or in person, nor could I have raised any money for our charity without your donations and nor would it have served any purpose without it inspiring you guys.
So thank you for always being part of my story…heres to US!